More than 100 boats are expected to take part in this weekend’s Rock the Coast powerboat gathering in Grand Haven.
The two-day event is hosted by West Michigan Offshore and will include plenty of opportunities to check out the boats up close.
Scott Otterbein, vice president of West Michigan Offshore, said boats will begin arriving early Friday afternoon, with many of them docking at the Grand Haven Municipal Marina.
“We have the entire marina blocked off, so we’ll have about 32 boats there,” he said.
At 1 p.m. Friday, many of the boats will participate in a charity ride with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore.
“When we put on events, we raise money for local charities, and that’s our charity for this event,” Otterbein said.
At 4:30 p.m. Friday, the boats will gather near the Municipal Marina, and then parade out through the channel into Lake Michigan, where they’ll run north to Muskegon for the third annual Keith Holmes Memorial Run. Holmes was a local boat racer and business owner who died in a crash during a race on Lake St. Clair in 2017.
“Keith was popular in the area,” Otterbein said. “We’re going to parade out behind Mike’s crew chief, Mike Holford.”
After the memorial run, the boats will return to the marina.
“That’s the best time to come check them out, around 7:30 Friday night, Otterbein said. “They’ll have the engine hatches open and the lights on.”
The powerboats will vary in length from 22 feet to more than 50 feet long. Most are deep-V’s, although there will be a few catamarans on hand as well.
On Saturday morning, the boats will again gather in front of the marina for the highlight of the weekend – a poker run that will take them from Grand Haven to Holland to Saugatuck, then back north to Pigeon Lake before finishing at Grand Haven.
“We have about 115 boats registered for Saturday’s poker run,” Otterbein said. “That’s the largest group of boats we’ve ever had for an event. We’ll take off around 11, parade out through the channel, then head to Holland for our first stop.”
He said most of the boats should be back in Grand Haven by 5:30 p.m.
Otterbein stressed that all of the events are for fun – there is not a race being held over the weekend. That doesn’t mean the boaters will settle for a casual ride on the lake.
“Some of the boats can go 50, and some can go 120” miles per hour, he said. “There are some high-performance boats.”
Weather dictates how fast many of the boats can go, and Otterbein said the forecast for Saturday is promising.
“It seems to be getting better by the day,” he said. “The storm (Thursday) is going to churn up the water, but it’s supposed to be 83 and sunny by Saturday. The wave forecast is hard to tell. Winds are supposed to be 10-15 miles per hour, but it’s a northwest wind, which is good. We can deal with smaller waves, but 3- to-4-footers become an issue.”
For more information, visit westmichiganoffshore.com.